Rout Cakes, Riddles and Regency Lovers: Jane Austen's Emma

Ref: C3673667

Emma Woodhouse may be Austen’s most infuriating heroine, but her doomed attempts at matchmaking take place against a background of fascinating social history. This course looks at the novel itself in detail, but also at contemporary issues such as food, manners, the class system and women's education - all explored with Austen's invariable wit and wisdom.

Course aim

This course explores the world of Jane Austen's fourth novel, 'Emma', both as great literature and as social history.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the plot of 'Emma' and briefly relate the novel to its biographical context - to know a little of the circumstances in which it was written.
  • List, with some detail, at least three of the social issues with which Austen is concerned in 'Emma'.
  • (Optional) Express an opinion as to the status of 'Emma' among Austen's novels as a whole.
  • (Optional) Research an additional aspect of early nineteenth century life (e.g. dress, transport) that relates to the novel, and report on this to the class.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • You will need your own copy of the novel - any edition. Reading 'Emma' in advance, and/or watching a filmed version, will enhance your experience.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • An option has been provided for students who know Austen's novels well to consider 'Emma' in this context, but the course is designed to be enjoyed equally by those reading 'Emma' only.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Rout Cakes, Riddles and Regency Lovers: Jane Austen's Emma


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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